This announcement came out on Friday the 19th, the same day I was at EA touring the campus and learning about some new games. I find it interesting that even when the talk of the DRM came up during the tour, our guide never mentioned this announcement coming out and the changes that would be made.
According to the LA Times, EA finally acknowledged that the consumers were right and they needed to make some changes. They apologized and said they would loosen the restrictions on the game.
Kotaku was contacted by EA with a statment that they published in their report:
Two weeks ago EA launched SPORE – one of the most innovative games in the history of our industry. We’re extremely pleased with the reception SPORE has received from critics and consumers but we’re disappointed by the misunderstanding surrounding the use of DRM software and the limitation on the number of machines that are authorized to play a single a copy of the game.
We felt that limiting the number of machine authorizations to three wouldn’t be a problem.
· We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem – and that if games that take 1-4 years to develop are effectively stolen the day they launch, developers and publishers will simply stop investing in PC games.
· We have found that 75 percent of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine and less than 1 percent every try to play on more than three different machines.
· We assured consumers that if special circumstances warranted more than three machines, they could contact our customer service team and request additional authorizations.
But we’ve received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. And while it’s easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers.
Going forward, we will amend the DRM policy on Spore to:
· Expand the number of eligible machines from three to five.
· Continue to offer channels to request additional activations where warranted.
· Expedite our development of a system that will allow consumers to de-authorize machines and move authorizations to new machines. When this system goes online, it will effectively give players direct control to manage their authorizations between an unlimited number of machines.
We’re willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But we’re hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.
I hope this helps repair the damage that the DRM has caused to the most wonderful game to come out in years. What worries me most is a comment one of the other bloggers (that was on my tour) made about Will Wright. I have not idea if it’s true or rumor but she said that Will might not finish any more Spore, he’ll just fix what is wrong and release a stuff pack. The tour guide said that was the first she had heard of it but the look on her face was sort of shock. I was looking forward to expansions and many years of additions and fun. I know this negative publicity must be heart breaking for him and the team after six years of hard work to produce the game. Let’s hope this is not true and Spore will continue to win over new players and continue to be the game we all waited for.